Would you like to generate some extra income with traveling? The good news is that in the age of the internet it's a possibility for everyone who is willing to put in a little work. And if you put in a lot of work, you can become one of those people who turned their passion of traveling into a successful full time career. But don't quit the day job yet! The sensible thing to do is to start with baby steps. Here is a list of methods to monetize your travel adventures. Check and try them out one by one and see which ones work best for you.
These days blogging is quite a popular pastime activity. Some do it for fun (e.g. Tumblr blogs), others for professional purposes. A blog is very simple to monetize, so why not use it for both posting about your interests an passions and earning a bit of money at the same time? We have put together a step-by-step guide for starting a travel blog, here. Check it out before you decide to try your hands at it. What you will need first is to register a domain name and buy web hosting. There are many low cost web hosts specifically for beginners' needs, and some of them even offer free domain registration. Take a look at Bluehost's offers, they have great prices for starter packages.
The classical income source for blogs is to display ads. You can sell ad spaces on your blog for banner and text ads. Depending on the size and the quality of the web traffic your blog attracts, you can charge a couple of hundred bucks for a single banner ad. This monetizing route is better suited for more established websites. If you just start out, a simple way to get some money out of your posts about your travelings is to join an advertising network such as Google Adsense and display their ads on your website. You can learn more about it in this post.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is about signing up to a vendor's affiliate program where they give you a special tracking code for promoting their products on your website. For example, if you join Amazon's associate program, and you write a review about some travel gear that is available for purchase on Amazon's website, what you'll need to do is to link to the corresponding page on Amazon's website where the link will contain a special tracking code (=affiliate link). If someone reads your review on your blog and clicks the affiliate link, which takes them to Amazon, and decides to buy that gear, you will receive a commission for referring this customer.
There are many affiliate programs, some more general, others for tourism related products and services, such as hotel bookings, tour operators, and so on. They operate with different commission structures, allowing you to make quite a nice extra income by referring paying customers to these services. If you don't have a blog, in some cases you are allowed to promote affiliate products directly from one of your social media accounts.
So, again, blogging. As you can see, this is a very versatile platform for creating different online income sources. If you already have an established blog with visitors that are considered valuable from an advertiser's point of view, you can create sections on your blog that may be sponsored by a company. It's basically advertising. For example, you could decide to open up your blog for sponsored posts. These are very similar to those PR articles that are masqueraded as normal articles inside the pages of a magazine or a newspaper, except there is some notification about them being 'promotional content' or 'sponsored article'. You can do the same online where the magazine is your blog and the articles are the blog posts. Put together a Media Kit where you tell your potential advertisers about your web traffic, your visitors' demographic, and your rates for ads and sponsorships.
Are you an enthusiastic photographer? A great way of generating a bit of extra income is to take a lot of great travel photos and sell them to so called stock photo sites. Mind you, they pay very little, and there is a vast amount of people to compete with on these sites, but if you already photograph your trip from start to finish, why not submit some of these pictures to stock photo sites and use them as a passive income source.
Is travel photography too competitive with very low earnings potential for you? Let's up the game! How about creating high quality travel videos for stock video sites? If videography is already a hobby of yours, then you probably own the right equipment (camera, software) for it. So let's put this passion of yours to use in a monetary way.
While there are tons of travel books available about the most popular travel destinations, you can still stumble upon unserved niches. A more remote region, a less frequented city, a new spin on travellig, you name it. Find a topic that there are few travel books about, or rubbish travel guides about, and write your own, better one. You don't need to bother with such things as getting a trade publishing deal or worrying about printing costs. Publish your travel guide digitally. Convert your book into a PDF file and sell it on your blog. Or join Amazon's Kindle Publishing program and submit your book there. They will sell it for you on their vast online store in digital format.
This monetizing option is recommended for more established travel bloggers. Some big names in the field have created online courses where they teach their subscribers about how to travel on a budget, how to be a full time travel blogger, how to set up shop in a foreign country and use it as a base for further travels, and so on. Evidently, there is a market for such online courses, and people are willing to get their credit cards out for these services. Online courses or online consulting are usually high ticket products, which means that it is a lucrative income source. But you need to work your way up there in the travel blogger scene to be regarded as an authority figure on the subject and to be trusted.
One level easier would be to start a travel related course on Udemy. Browse the travel section on their site and see what's popular. If you have enough experience in one of the often booked course topics, consider starting your own Udemy course.
Apart from your blog, social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is also a great platform for posting sponsored content. If you have a lot of followers on your social media accounts, companies may pay you for a sponsored post. Especially Instagram lends itself to great travel related posts with visually appealing photographs.
Travel bloggers with a sizable following and an 'influencer status' within the travel blogosphere are often contacted by brands to review a product, or less often, to become a brand ambassador. What it means is that you write an honest review of the product, put a banner ad of the brand on your blog, or promote the product through your social media accounts. In exchange, you will receive a financial compensation from that company. For transparency's sake it's very important to let your readers know that the review or the post was sponsored.
Once you have become an established travel blogger and you have a 'household name' within the travel blogging niche, companies from the tourism industry may start to approach you. These might be hotels, tourism boards, a cruising company or a recreational resort. What they are after is your readership who for them count as potential customers. So they will ask you - and often a bunch of other travel bloggers at the same time, too - to take a trip to their location and do a coverage of your journey on your blog. You will be covered all the travel expenses and in exchange they will require one (or more) blog post(s) detailing your experiences. Or, you will negotiate a fixed price for the whole trip and you will finance your travel expenses from this sum. Why would companies do that? Because they want to reach out to your readership who - reading your enthusiastic review of the place - might decide to hop on a plane and visit that place. And spend money there.
Your travel blog can serve as a portfolio for showcasing your writing skills. There is a huge demand for travel pieces in magazines, and this type of job is often outsourced. Approach magazines and offer them to write a travel related article. The payment may not be that high but it's still extra money for you, so definitely worth to consider it.
For people who have a deeper knowledge of a certain region of city, doing some freelance gigs such as travel planning can prove to be a nice side income. You put together a customized itinerary for your clients, help them with the hotel booking, and you may even offer your services as their personal tour guide. But be careful with the tour guide gig. In some countries you will need to have and official qualification for taking up tour guide jobs, so do your research beforehand!
We have put together an article that details the steps of starting a travel blog. While you may not be interested in blogging itself, we share plenty of useful tips about other aspects of earning money online. Some of the topics include: